From Evergreen Trail Guide
July 2007. The District Ranger has issued a Decision Letter, which essentially recommends building the 10 mile trail. See the Advocacy Information section for more information.
The Skykomish Ranger District is proposing construction of the Alpine Baldy Trail # 1240. The proposal includes trailhead construction at the junction of Forest Service Road (FSR) 6066 and 6067, an approximately 10 mile long mountain bike/hiker loop trail via Alpine Baldy mountain, via road-to-trail conversions on FSR 6066/6067, and a hiker only spur trail from Harlan Saddle up to East Beckler Peak (latter of approximately 1.6 miles in length).
How to find it
Here you explain where to park, how to get there, and how to find trails from the parking area.
This is a proposed trail that does not yet exist.
See map on this page.
Local Points of Interest
Town of Skykomish, WA.
In July 2007 the District Ranger issued a Decision Letter recommending that the Alpine Baldy trail be constructed. Read the letter (480 KB .pdf). Below is an excerpt from the letter.
- Skykomish Ranger District proposes to construct Alpine Baldy Trail #1240. The project would include construction of a trailhead at the junction of Forest Service Roads 6066 and 6067; construction of approximately a 10 mile long mount bike/hiker loop trail via Alpine Baldy Mountain and road-to-trail conversions on Roads 6066/6067; and construction of a hiker only spur trail from Harlan Saddle up to East Beckler Peak (approximately 1.6 miles). To minimize potential user conflicts between hikers accessing East Beckler Peak and mountain bikers on the Alpine Baldy loop trail, a bypass trail for mountain bikes would be constructed utilizing 0.4 miles of spur road off Road 6066 and 0.1 miles of new connector trail to tie in with the first switchback east of Harland Saddle (See Alpine Baldy Trail map).
Read the Forest Service's Alpine Baldy Scoping Letter for detailed information about this project. This is the letter that the above decision letter was based upon.
A meeting of stakeholders (Forest Service, environmental groups and user groups) was held in May '07. The FS was seeking feedback on various parts of the plan, including multi-user design, funding, timelines, environmental assessment and the necessary road decomissioning. The following information came out of that meeting, which was based on the scoping document.
This area is listed as core grizzly habitat. As such, there are rules that state no net gain in human impacts can occur in these habitat areas. This means that for every bit of trail or roads built, an equal amount of road or trail that was active as of 1997 must be decommissioned as mitigation.
Many user groups have been at the table and voiced support for this project though extensive public involvement. The FS is hoping to be able to move forward by issuing a Decision Memo and streamlining the process through a categorical exclusion of the Environmental Assessment (EA) or Impact Statement (EIS).
This project is likely to proceed in three phases.
- The construction of new trail from rd 6066 up to Beckler Peak. The spur trail up to Beckler will be hiker only. $150k is secured for this phase, and the FS has "banked" enough road decommissioning to build this trail. The FS has enough decommissioned road "banked" in this area to proceed with the
- Build new trail from the Beckler Peak spur junction, up to and past Alpine Baldy, and connecting with rd 6067. This phase is yet unfunded and requires additional road decommissioning before proceeding.
- Road to trail conversion of rd 6066 and 6067 from the junction of the two roads upward. This phase is unfunded.
Phase 1 may begin layout and construction in 2007, phases 2 and 3 require funding before they can proceed. Timeline may be in the 10 year range for the latter phases.
User conflict management
Several hiking groups are concerned about avoiding hiker/bike conflicts on what is likely to be a heavily used hiking trail. The FS and bike groups are confident that conflicts can be largely avoided if the trail is constructed appropriately. History shows (the FS looks at the Mid Fork Snoqualmie as an example) that conflicts are more perception than reality.
A verbal agreement was made at the meeting to not place any specific requirements on the bike portion of the trails, but include an adaptive management plan in the system. This plan would monitor for user conflicts, and if some arise in the future consider building a short section of trail to separate bikers from hikers (between the top of rd 6066 and Beckler spur trail) or possibly limit bikers to a clockwise direction on the loop. We are confident that proper design will make these management plans unnecessary.
User groups, including mountain bikers and hikers, will be asked to participate in volunteer maintenance. It is likely that the road-to-trail sections will require annual brushing for several years after construction.